A new online platform – Sutton Trust Online – will support over 6,000 lower-income students with their university choices and applications this year, the Sutton Trust announced today.

Sutton Trust Online has been developed in partnership with Bloomberg LP to support year 12 students (16- and 17-year olds) across the UK in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It comes as most face-to-face university access programmes– including the Sutton Trust’s Summer Schools – are unable to take place this year due to social distancing restrictions.

Recent Sutton Trust research has shown increasing uncertainty amongst young people about how their next steps will be affected by the crisis, with almost half of applicants predicting it will have a negative impact on their chances of getting into their first-choice university.

The new platform will incorporate all the features of the Trust’s flagship Summer School programme, including academic content, advice and guidance on applications and student finance, plus an insight into what university life is like.

The 6,000 students applied to either subject-specific Sutton Trust Summer Schools earlier this year or partner universities’ own access initiatives. They come from across the UK and have met social mobility criteria, such as eligibility for Free School Meals or attending a school with a low progression rate to higher education.

They will be invited to take part in one of 300 subject-specific courses at their online host university. For example, if a student applied to the medicine summer school at the University of Cambridge, they will receive bespoke content developed by the team at Cambridge.

Students will also receive personalised support through the platform throughout year 13, including help with personal statements and access to a pool of student mentors and Sutton Trust alumni.

Sutton Trust Online is funded by Bloomberg L.P. and delivered in partnership with Causeway Education, The Access Platform, Filtered and Komensky.

Michael Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, said:

“The coronavirus crisis has presented a whole new set of challenges for students from low-income families, interrupting the school year and cutting off access to resources that help students stay on track – like university application guidance”

“Bloomberg Philanthropies has helped more than 70,000 talented low- and middle-income students apply to and enrol in top colleges in the U.S. through our virtual advising program CollegePoint, and we’re glad to support the work that Sutton Trust Online is leading in the U.K. A parent’s income should never determine a child’s likelihood of going to university – and with the coronavirus taking a devastating financial toll on families, and casting so much uncertainty into young people’s lives, this work is more important and more urgent than ever before.”

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust and chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“Our research has shown that the coronavirus has had a major impact on young people and will have a profound effect on their futures.  High quality support is needed more than ever, but with face-to-face programmes unable to go ahead, there is a serious gap in provision. The new platform will incorporate all the features of the Trust’s flagship Summer Schools, including academic content, advice and guidance on applications and student finance, plus an insight into what university life is like.

“We are delighted to be working with Bloomberg Philanthropies and many of the UK’s leading universities to launch Sutton Trust Online. We are confident that it will be a good substitute for our traditional summer schools and help to ensure that highly talented, lower income students don’t lose out.”


  • Bloomberg LP is committed to ending educational inequality and improving social mobility globally and has been a long-term supporter and advocate of education initiatives across the U.K. Through its corporate philanthropy programme, Bloomberg looks to address unmet needs in its communities, deepen engagement with colleagues, clients and partners, and improve lives around the world.
  • 14,000 young people applied to Sutton Trust’s Summer Schools at 13 leading  universities earlier this year. Of those, 2,500 will be invited to take part in Sutton Trust Online at their host university this year.
  • The Sutton Trust will also collaborate with their partner universities to deliver their own programmes through Sutton Trust Online.
  • Since 1997, over 25,000 young people have taken part in a Sutton Trust Summer Schools. Research by Higher Education Access Tracker has shown that 93% of Sutton Trust students moved from the lowest to the highest socio-economic groups after leaving university.
  • The universities hosting their programmes through Sutton Trust Online are: Cardiff University, Durham University, Hull York Medical School, Imperial College London, King’s College London, LSE, Royal Veterinary College, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Glasgow, University of Leicester, University of Newcastle, University of Nottingham, University of St Andrews, University of Warwick

About the Sutton Trust
The Sutton Trust is committed to improving social mobility from birth to the workplace. Founded by Sir Peter Lampl in 1997, the Trust has supported over 30,000 young people through evidence-led programmes and published over 200 pieces of agenda-setting research, many of which have influenced government policy.

About Bloomberg

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